Sunday, December 2, 2007


I'm tall. This point is obvious. My mother and I could share shoes when I was in 4th grade. She wears a size 8 and a half. I surpassed my mother in height when I was in 6th grade. I am the tallest member of my family. I have two older brothers, and yes...I'm taller than them. I was listed as 6'2 on the Varsity basketball roster when I was a sophomore. They exaggerated. I'm only 6'0. I tried gymnastics for a year when I was in second grade - I was already too tall for the uneven bars. I quit and my parents suggested basketball. I played basketball for 9 years and I was always the tallest girl on the team - a post playing underneath the basket.

I was always fairly athletic - I could be put onto any court or field and do relatively well. Except for soccer. I am completely uncoordinated with my feet, but I'm okay with that. Football, basketball, volleyball - I can hold my own. Growing up, life was dominated by school and sports. Staying up late at night to get homework done because I had a basketball game that night. Going to bed early on Friday nights because of an early Saturday morning practice. I suppose that I was probably known as a "jock" or athlete in middle school and high school. I was one of three sophomore girls that had letter jackets. Sports were my way of fitting in and getting frustrations out. I loved the feeling of rebounding a ball and fighting my way out of the swarm of girls around me to find the outlet. I loved being competitive and winning.

I remember one of my proudest moments sophomore year. I came home from preseason basketball sticky with sweat and smelling like a gym. I set down my gym bag in the kitchen and asked my mom how it felt to be the parent of a varsity basketball player. But somewhere along the way in high school, everything I loved about sports became muddled and lost. Basketball wasn't fun anymore. It was a job. I was told to put on weight. I was 6'0 tall, weighed 135, lifted weights, and ate my parents out of house and home. There was no way I was going to become a "big" girl. I tore the ligaments in my ankle in a preseason scrimmage and was out for 6 weeks. In the meantime, I lost my playing position my junior year. To a freshman. I spent the remainder of the season sitting the bench, while breeding contempt and hatred towards my coach and fellow teammates. I gave up on caring and trying to prove myself as an athlete and started drinking. That made Saturday morning practices a little more difficult. I poured my efforts into Class Council and my social life. I quit at the end of the season.

Do I regret that decision? Yes and no. I hated practices. I loved games...but I didn't love watching them from the games. I hated the politics of kissing up to the coach that I really didn't like. I liked being "special" at school - being part of something that not everyone else could participate in. I think that if I had the drive, determination and aggresive tenacity for success back then that I have now, my basketball career could have been a little different. I was definitely blessed with the physical prowress as well as the natural athleticism to be a much better athlete then I was. But, mentally, I couldn't hang.

In college, I joined a sorority and was drawn into a different, more emotionally devastating and damaging kind of competition. Who had the best make-up, clothes, hair color, shoes, apartment, car etc. I tried desperately to look and act the part, but I always felt like I wasn't truly a "girlie-girl" like the other girls in the sorority. I was still most comfortable in jeans, a tee shirt and a baseball hat. But, I guess in order to "fit in" I felt that I had to discard the "jock" and "tomboy" side of my personality and adopt a girlier attitude. I played intramural sports and through my position as Intramural Chair, I recruited athletes into the sorority and by my senior year, we were campus champs at flag football. I played volleyball and basketball, but it was so frustrating for me because I was much better than everyone else. Over time, I gradually grew to ignore the tomboy/jock aspect of myself and truly developed into a prissy girly girl.

I've been out of college for two years and it has taken that long for me to get over the obsession with looks that I fell into while in the sorority. If you look in my closet and itemized the amount of money I spend on clothes and shoes in a month, you would probably say that I haven't truly overcome that obsession. But I must say that coaching has been a blessing for me personally. Through coaching volleyball I have been able to dig out the athlete in me that was socially forced to disappear during college.

In the end, I think the sorority did more harm than good.

I have spent the past two evenings at sporting events and/or sports bars drinking beer, watching sports and shooting the breeze. I have been in jeans and a fleece sweatshirt both nights and it feels awesome. There's no pressure to flirt with the cute guy, no self-confidence issues because the girls next to me are wearing Seven jeans and I'm not. It's just hanging out, talking about stuff and having a good time. I think I'm slowly getting to the point where "going out" is no longer appealing to me. I'd rather meet some friends up at a bar, dressed comfortably, grab a table and sit and talk.

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